NEW YORK (CNS) — For Arthur Bishop, the protagonist of the “Mechanic” franchise, the sole purpose of existence is to effectively dispatch bad people using elaborate, spectacular methods in exotic locales.
The fact that he targets only villains means there’s something of a vaguely well-intentioned, though obviously off-kilter, moral core in “Mechanic: Resurrection” (Summit), the second film in the current series.
Bishop (Jason Statham), retired and living undercover in Brazil since the 2011 installment — the remake of a 1972 movie starring Charles Bronson — is forced to take up his craft again after his mysterious childhood friend, Crain (Sam Hazeldine), kidnaps his true love, Gina (Jessica Alba). Poor old Gina, who runs a shelter for human trafficking victims in Cambodia, doesn’t have it easy; Bishop had earlier rescued her from an abusive relationship.
To spring Gina, Bishop will have to carry out three kills. Given that director Dennis Gansel and screenwriters Philip Shelby and Tony Mosher aren’t very skilled at dispensing exposition, all of the foregoing is presented rather murkily. The story only gains focus once Bishop, who has a vast knowledge of science, is physically fearless and also somehow tenderhearted, starts planning and executing his hits.
Thankfully, Gansel and his collaborators downplay the gore as Bishop goes about his business, which involves the trademark gimmick of making the mayhem he wreaks appear to be an accident. But the overall effect is something like a cut-rate “Mission: Impossible.”
The filmmakers are apparently anxious to deliver the audience from any danger of having to think too much. That way, viewers can sit back and enjoy Bishop’s stunts, such as disguising himself as a murderous inmate in Singapore, or emptying a skyscraper’s cantilevered swimming pool in Australia.
The film contains pervasive, mostly stylized violence, an implied nonmarital sexual encounter and frequent rough language. The Catholic News Service classification is A-III — adults. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is R — restricted. Under 17 requires accompanying parent or adult guardian.